Al-Haramayn: Hejaz during the Ottoman Period. Photographs from the archives of Yildiz Palace and Fakhreddin Pasha (IRCICA)

Exhibition date: 7th February – 9th May 2022

Al-Haramayn: Hejaz during the Ottoman Period was a photo exhibition that culminated from a collaborative effort between the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) and the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), the first cultural centre under the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This exhibition displayed the reproduction of forty-seven black-and-white photographs that puts on view the Hejaz—a region in the west of Saudi Arabia that includes the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina—during the reign of Ottoman sultan, Abdul Hamid II, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These rare photographs were taken from the archives of Fakhreddin Pasha, the former governor of Medina, and Yildiz Palace, the last Ottoman court, which served as the first centre of IRCICA from its establishment in 1979. They present the Ottoman’s contribution to the architecture and urban planning of Mecca and Medina through an exceptional aerial view of the Holy city of Mecca, with the Masjid Al-Haram, along with the Prophet’s Mosque in the heart of the Holy city of Medina. Moreover, another outstanding feature of this photo exhibition is displaying images from mahmal (the noble carriage) rituals. The mahmal entailed sending the kiswa (the cover for the Ka’ba) each year from Egypt and Syria to Mecca during the Hajj season. In addition to the kiswa, other gifts for the Prophet’s Mosque and the Masjid Al-Haram were also included. Later, the Ottoman sultans added another noble carriage, departing from Istanbul, which surprisingly was caught on camera and is shown in the exhibition.

The exhibition was held at the Open Space Gallery, from 7 February 2022 to 9 May 2022.

A GENERAL VIEW FROM THE SOUTHERN FACADE OF MASJID AL-HARAM AND ITS SURROUNDINGS The Ajyad Quarter is visible at the bottom left of the photograph. It is considered the most beautiful quarter in Mecca.

THE PROPHET’S MOSQUE AND THE GREEN DOME The Green Dome was built above the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the early caliphs, Abu Bakr (RA) and ‘Umar (RA).

THE DEPARTURE OF THE MAHMAL AL-SHARIF Circa 1900 AD / 1318 AH The Mahmal al-Sharif (Noble Carriage) is being sent off the Yildiz Palace, where Sultan Abdulhamid II resided, led by Sheikh al-Islam and the state officials.